Kevin Lisch, new signings leading Kings resurrection


The Violet Crumbles. The Cardiac Kids.

On an afternoon when the Sydney Kings celebrated their 30th anniversary, it seemed only fitting that their game against the Cairns Taipans would require overtime to decide the winner.

It's been a roller-coaster three decades of NBL action for the team in purple and gold.

Years upon years of Sydney teams either losing the unloseable or giving their fans heart failure while winning was finally erased in the early 00s with three straight titles, a dynasty that is even more impressive with the inexorable passage of time.

But the franchise has also endured significant turmoil, catastrophically folding in 2008 before a resurrection two years later.

Since their return, the Kings have been, to put it charitably, less than successful, heartening as it is to have the franchise back in the league.

To that end, last year the Kings went out following another dismal season, determined to make a statement on the recruiting front.

And they landed not only returning NBA title-winner Andrew Bogut but also some highly-rated Australian and American talent in Daniel Kickert and Brian Bowen.

But perhaps the best addition they made was a player they already had.

Veteran Kevin Lisch, he of the dual NBL MVP awards, was an afterthought for much of 2017-18, ruined by multiple injuries to his right calf.

He returned late in the season and gave Kings fans a glimpse of what might have been, along with sparkplug playmaker Jerome Randle helping Sydney to six wins in their final seven games, and adding a veneer of respectability to what had been an otherwise forgettable campaign.

And after a quiet opening game against Adelaide this season, where he scored just five points in 28 minutes, you'd have been forgiven for wondering if we'd seen the best of the Rio Olympian.

But it's been nothing less than a resurgence from Lisch since, capped with a match-winning effort against the Snakes on Sunday.

The former Wildcats and Hawks guard nailed two enormous bombs from beyond the arc in overtime to give the Kings a lead they would not surrender, allowing Sydney to post a second consecutive win and square its ledger with a 2-2 record.

There's a nice balance to this Sydney squad, with an abundance of size, athleticism and shooting at coach Andrew Gaze's disposal.

And while it's early days, if the Kings are to make a serious postseason push, Lisch will be a critical component, adding not just his clutch shooting, but a veteran nous that will prove invaluable the longer the season goes.


Nathan Sobey (ADL) - Triple-doubles are a rare breed in the 40-minute NBL. How rare? Sobey's 22-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist masterclass in the win over Cairns was the first such accomplishment since Cedric Jackson did so in 2015. The 36ers guard has rocketed into (very) early MVP consideration with a string of impressive performances.


G: Nathan Sobey (ADL) - See above

G: Cam Gliddon (BRI) - In his first season for Brisbane, Gliddon has been a consistent offensive force for the Bullets and Round 3 was no exception. Scored 15 points in the stunning win over Perth before splashing eight triples to valiantly keep the Bullets in the contest against Illawarra before ultimately succumbing.

F: Finn Delany (NZB) - What?!? Where did that come from?!? Averaging two points per game, the high-energy Delany exploded for a career-high 27 points in just 21 minutes of action against Adelaide to power the Breakers to a much-needed win.

F: Terrico White (PER) - Fellow Wildcat Bryce Cotton labelled White a 'silent assassin' and he's not wrong. The Perth import enjoyed an impressive Round 3, averaging 23 points and six rebounds per game as the Wildcats split a road-home double against Brisbane and Melbourne.

C: Angus Brandt (PER) - Brandt has been a steady if unspectacular presence for Perth the past two seasons, but the 208-centimetre centre was crucial for the Wildcats in their pulsating double-overtime win over defending champion Melbourne United. Brandt posted 14 points and hauled down a mammoth 20 rebounds, including an incredible 14 at the offensive end to become the first Wildcat to grab 20 boards in a game since Shawn Redhage in 2006.


We've got an early, unofficial edition of Rivalry Round, with NSW protagonists the Hawks and the Kings tipping off Round 4 on Friday night. New Zealand and Perth - rivals over the course of three Grand Final series - continue the theme the following afternoon at RAC Arena, before United and Sydney slug it out at Melbourne Arena on Monday evening.